For the past year, we have been building and tweaking our revolutionary new tool called mycollegelist.com, a free college list generator that helps students generate an initial list of colleges based on 27 characteristics—which is quite different from most college admission programs that use only two or three. Naviance, Scior, and Maia Learning, for example, use only GPA and SAT or ACT test score to generate their scattergrams. These programs are useful in other ways, but their college list generators lack authenticity because they do not consider many of the factors that colleges do when making their admission decisions. We are aware of two or three other programs on the market that use 3 to 4 characteristics which still falls far short of the 27 considered by mycollegelist.com.
Mycollegelist.com not only asks students to answer 27 relevant questions, it also explains how students can rank themselves for each in order to elicit the most accurate answers possible. The survey takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete, after which students can see their likelihood of admission, as well as a personal preference score, at 200 of the top colleges in America. By asking appropriate questions and providing detailed instructions, mycollegelist.com much more closely resembles the way that colleges consider their candidates.
Two of the personal characteristics that are included in the Mycollegelist.com survey may seem quite unusual, so we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about them and to explain why they are important and how they are measured. These two factors are:
· Writing Ability
While it is relatively easy to understand why colleges would see these two characteristics as important, it might be harder to understand how they are evaluated. This is particularly true of writing ability, especially when one considers that many colleges do not require supplemental essays or writing samples. Let’s look at both characteristics and how they are evaluated by colleges.
Character: Character is a loosely defined term that, for the purposes of college admission, generally refers to making choices that benefit others or that generally are considered moral, honorable, and honest. Character can be measured in several ways, including through teacher recommendations, counselor recommendations, others’ recommendations, essays you write, activities you choose, and honors or awards you have received. For highly competitive colleges, character is not the first thing they look at, but it does become important in the later rounds of choosing candidates. It is then that personal narrative becomes extremely important because you are being compared to other students who have also made it through the initial round of cuts and may be similar to you in terms of GPA, test scores, and level of academic rigor.
Writing Ability: Colleges have a particular affinity for students who can write well. This is true even of some colleges that do not have supplemental essays as part of their applications. The ways that writing ability can be evaluated include the common app personal narrative, college application supplemental essays, teacher recommendations, activities you have chosen (including writing workshops or extracurricular classes), honors you have received, and grades you have earned in many of your classes (since writing makes up a sizable component of your grades). Students may also provide colleges with samples of their writing through portfolios submitted through the college admission portal. Sometimes, students provide colleges with research papers they have written, creative writing samples, or even books or articles they have written.
Character and writing ability are just two factors consider by colleges. They are weighted differently from college to college, but it is safe to say that being strong in both areas can help, and never hurt, your chances of admission. Generally speaking, colleges are looking for reasons to accept you rather than to reject you. The more positive reasons you can provide, the more likely you are to be successful. To see the rest of these characteristics, log into mycollegelist.com and take the survey. Not only will you get a great way to start your college list, but you will also have an opportunity to see how improving yourself in one or more areas can positively impact your odds of success at 200 of America’s top colleges.